Book Review: History Hasn’t Begun Again

January 30, 2002

Book Review: History Hasn’t Begun Again

Francis Fukuyama’s book, The End of History and the Last Man, argued that capitalist democracy represents an ideological endpoint for society, and history as we know it has ceased. We have a winner. However, in the wake of 9/11 a number of commentators challenged his thesis, suggesting that the religious basis to the terror attack demonstrated that ideological struggle is alive and well. Fukuyama was recently in Australia, giving the John Bonython Lecture for the Centre for Independent Studies. In that address, ‘Has History Restarted Since September 11?’, he gave an extended response. He said:

The end of history was supposed to be about the victory of Western, not simply American, values and institutions. The Cold War was fought by alliances based on shared values of freedom and democracy. And yet an enormous gulf has opened up in American and European perceptions about the world, and the sense of shared values is increasingly frayed. Does the concept of the ‘West’ still make sense in the first decade of the 21st century? Is the fracture line over globalisation actually a division not between the West and the Rest, but between the United States and the Rest?

And where will Australia fit in such a divided world?...

The lecture is available from CIS.

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